Americans believe that Russia paid Taliban to kill U.S. soldiers

A majority disapprove of Trump’s handling of the U.S. relationship with Russia.

The author(s)
  • Annaleise Azevedo Lohr Director, US, Public Affairs
  • Christopher Cummins Research Analyst, Public Affairs
Get in touch

Washington, DC, July 17, 2020 –  A recent Reuters/Ipsos survey finds that a majority of Americans believe Russia had previously paid bounties to the Taliban for killing U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan. While there is no consensus on whether President Trump was aware of these allegations, a majority disapprove of his handling of Russian relations and believe that economic sanctions on Moscow are the most appropriate consequences.

Americans are divided on if President Trump was aware of these reports before they were leaked by the press. Thirty-nine percent of Americans say that Trump did know that Russia was paying Taliban members to kill American soldiers in Afghanistan while 26% say that he did not. Additionally, 34% are unsure.

  • Sixty percent of Americans find the allegations that Russia was paying Taliban members to kill American soldiers in Afghanistan “very” or “somewhat” believable. Democrats (74%) are more inclined to believe the reports than Republicans (53%) or independents (52%).
  • Democrats are far more likely to believe that Trump was aware of the bounties (66%) compared to both independents (30%) and Republicans (14%).

Trump aware

Half of all Americans (52%) disapprove of the way Trump is handling relations with Russia. This is largely driven by partisan divisions, as 80% of Democrats disapprove while only 20% of Republicans share the same sentiment.

  • A quarter of Americans (24%) believe Vladimir Putin is an imminent threat to the U.S.
  • A majority (54%) support punishing Russia through sanctions intended to hurt the Russian economy. Far less are in support of punishing Russia through a military strike on assets (9%) or letting it go in the interest of improving relations between the U.S. and Russia (9%). Twenty-nine percent are not sure what the U.S. should do.
Trump-Russia approval

About the Study

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between July 6-7, 2020 on behalf of Thomson Reuters. For this survey, a sample of 1,114 Americans age 18+ from the continental U.S., Alaska and Hawaii were interviewed online in English. The sample includes 476 Democrats, 437 Republicans and 115 independents. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics to ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within ± 3.3 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Americans been polled. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error. The poll also has a credibility interval ± 5.1 percentage points for Democrats, ± 5.3 percentage points for Republicans, and ± 10.4 percentage points for independents.  

For more information on this news release, please contact:

Chris Jackson
Senior Vice President, US
Public Affairs
+1 202 420-2025
[email protected]

Kate Silverstein
Media Relations, US
Public Affairs
+1 718 755-8829
[email protected]

About Ipsos

Ipsos is the world’s third largest market research company, present in 90 markets and employing more than 18,000 people.

Our passionately curious research professionals, analysts and scientists have built unique multi-specialist capabilities that provide true understanding and powerful insights into the actions, opinions and motivations of citizens, consumers, patients, customers or employees. We serve more than 5,000 clients across the world with 75 business solutions.

Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos is listed on the Euronext Paris since July 1st, 1999. The company is part of the SBF 120 and the Mid-60 index and is eligible for the Deferred Settlement Service (SRD).

ISIN code FR0000073298, Reuters ISOS.PA, Bloomberg IPS:FP

The author(s)
  • Annaleise Azevedo Lohr Director, US, Public Affairs
  • Christopher Cummins Research Analyst, Public Affairs